Build reserves to fight back

Let me let you in on a secret: a reason I’m thrifty is because I’m trying to build resources to (1) pay the financial costs of being gay in a homophobic culture and (2) have funds in hand when the call comes to give. I’d rather be thought cheap than live as a victim.

Legal fights and political battles take determination, leadership and cash. Just because the Internet has made communication and movement-building cheaper doesn’t mean that it’s free. Far from it. In some ways, it’s all that much harder to be heard above the din. And there will be fights and battles before us.

Now, about reserves. I admit I’m a bit frightened every time I hear of a liberal with a kindly, underpaid job (clergy included) and a mountain of student debt. I’m even more worried by people whose liberalism needs material accessories; in essence, a politically-tinged aestheticism.

The less liberals earn and the more we desire materially the greater the risk that our freedoms and values will be washed asunder.

  1. Don’t contrast President-elect Obama with President Bush and think the new guy’s a liberal. He isn’t; rather, he’s a centrist. Liberals can’t coast or rest; we have to push. There is no honeymoon.
  2. The bad state of the economy will make many people timid in giving resources or thinking outside their own homes.  Be not afraid.  There’s a saying — Orthodox Christian in origins, I believe — about not letting an illness go to waste. Let each indignity, disappointment and misfortune stimulate a new strength, such as restraint in spending, clarity in desires or skills for living.
  3. And don’t fall into self-pity. A change of administration offers many opportunities in how our country develops. And remember: the vast majority of the human race — living and dead — would pray to have what we consider hardship. Draw on their strength: it puts our situation in perspective.

The election’s over. The change you can believe in starts with you.

2 Replies to “Build reserves to fight back”

  1. When I think of my own paltry resources (bi-vocational clergy income), I also try to recall that I am only one generation removed from my mom’s experience of hoeing bean fields by hand to earn money to pay for college. That puts any of my hardships to shame.

    I have more than she had in those days. So which would I rather have? That dinner out at the funky new Vietnamese restaurant? Or marriage equality? Perhaps I should give more often to the later, and eat out less often.

    What makes this thrift and mindful financial will difficult, is that the whole family does not always share these values. It’s one thing to be thrifty. It’s more complicated if your partner, brother, and parents experience such thrift and financial values as cheap (and perhaps selfish).

    Yet another reason to dread the coming holiday season.

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